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How Coral Gets Its Beauty

How Coral Gets Its Beauty

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How Coral Gets Its Beauty

Coral is an organic gemstone, meaning it's formed from living matter. It traces back to plants and animals instead of minerals. Coral is considered organic because it grows in the ocean and comprises of millions of tiny organisms called coral polyps. Here are important points to know about coral jewelry and where its beauty comes from.

Colors of Marine Life

A compelling aspect of coral is that it originates from marine life and is responsible for creating colorful coral reefs. It's among the oldest types of jewelry known to civilization. Polyps build shell-like homes on coral while releasing calcium carbonate, which creates coral reefs. It takes decades for these delicate reefs to develop.

While coral is often associated with a pinkish-orange color, its most common color is white. It also can be found in red, gold, blue, and black. The most sought after colors are pink, red, or in between, as this range is known as precious coral or red coral. Its scientific name is Corallium.

The fact that coral comes from the ocean makes it a powerful reminder of beaches and relaxation. The ocean also has the mystique of being an underwater world where many unsolved mysteries remain. Some of the key places where coral is found include the Mediterranean Sea, Hawaii, West Africa, and Japan. The United States is a top consumer of Corallium.

What Makes Coral Shine

In its natural state, coral isn't very shiny, but once it's polished and waxed, it has an elegant glossy appearance. The translucent to opaque clarity of the gem depends on how it's been polished and customized. Due to its soft surface, coral is difficult to cut and can be easily damaged, so more emphasis is put on polish. Coral usually isn't treated, but can be dyed to brighten its color.

Affordable Jewelry

A primary reason why coral is so popular is because it's generally affordable, although the more it is customized, the higher the price can be. Coral stones usually don't command high value, unless they've been cut by a high-quality designer. What makes coral appealing to all levels of buyers is the vibrant color if the gem is well-polished.

Despite its affordable price range, coral still is viewed with the same admiration as more expensive gems. Coral jewelry can be worn at casual or formal events and looks more modern when worn with gold or silver.

Symbolic Themes Associated With Coral

For thousands of years, cultures around the world have associated coral with protection against evil spirits and negative energy. In modern times, other associations include healing, relaxation, and transformation. 

Unfortunately, coral reefs around the world are in jeopardy of being destroyed by pollution and other environmental factors. Several coral species are on the endangered species list, which is why many countries now place heavy restrictions on exporting younger red coral. The United Nations began addressing this issue in the 1980s.

Some groups view coral as controversial for environmental reasons, but it remains a popular type of jewelry. Tiffany & Co, which helped popularize coral in America in the late 1800s, discontinued using natural coral completely for its jewelry in 2004. Since then, the company has donated millions of dollars to organizations working toward marine conservation.


The fact that coral takes so long to mature makes all of it naturally special, and the perfect jewelry piece. For more information about buying or selling your coral jewelry, contact us at Ralph Mueller & Associates for more information.